Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Kimberly:

I was honored to have received a question from a college student who has been in an LDR for less than a year. She said my story was inspiring and she wanted advice. If she were my daughter, what would I say? I only know this girl from her very short email and I care for her already. Well, this blog post will be lengthy but this is the advice I gave her. I shall refer to her as "Miss College Student".

Dear Kimberly,
Me and my Bf have been exclusively together for a little less then a year and he asked me to me his gf recently. i know a short time but im in love with him and he says he loves me too ... I guess im drawn to your story because im in college a still have about 2 years left of undergrad and then im off to grad school hoping and praying i get into a school closer to him. My question is what advice can you Give me about making My long distance relationship last for the long haul like yours because it scares me to death to think about loosing him and after reading your background story and your LDR of 11 years im so impressed because everywhere else ive read says LDRs dont work and you give/gave me so much hope any advice you are willing to give me on ANYTHING (especially staying happy when Your SO isn't there with you and to cope with the distance) to do with the whole LDR situation would b much appreciated...
Thank You so much,
Miss College Student

Dear Miss College Student,
First of all, I don't wish anyone to be in an LDR for as long as I have.. it's tough. But, we are both older and have kids and being that we are loving responsible parents, we put our kids first. I don't regret a micro-second of our relationship as he is so very good to me and I wouldn't change a thing except the distance.

First, be sure to put your education first. NEVER sacrifice your education for a relationship, especially one so new. I can't stress that enough. You mentioned that you hope to go to grad school near him, if you were at this particular school, would you still be happy and successful at this school if your relationship didn't work out? You are at the time in your life when you have to put yourself first.

Now, what do we have that unsuccessful relationships don't have?
!. Friendship. We started out as friends. We weren't looking for anything. It just happened. We met online and only communicated in writing and emails and the occasional phone call with a prepaid calling card.( You may not even know what that is. LOL) Before the technology we have today. Amazing how much it has changed in the last 11 years!
2.Respect. He respects who I am, my beliefs, my reasons for not moving out there 9 years ago, my drive to move ahead in my career and the goals I have of constantly bettering myself. He does not want to be the person to hold me back, nor do I want to do that for him. He makes me want to be a better person, and I do the same for him.
3.Trust. This should really be number one. If I call him or log onto Yahoo Instant Messenger and he's not there, my thoughts have never gone to "HE'S WITH ANOTHER WOMAN!" and then grill him the second I see him online again. That will drive you crazy. You need to trust each other. If he is grilling you, there is a trust issue and you need to work that out otherwise you wont last. I had a male friend who I spent an entire summer with and I would tell Vernon everything about it. He eventually told me that he was jealous of this guy because he got to spend so much time with me. I stopped talking about my friend and cut down on spending so much time together with him out of respect for Vernon. I do feel men and women can be friends, but group outings are appropriate where extended one on one time isn't, especially when one or both are in a relationship.
4. Keep things interesting. Just because you are in an LDR doesn't mean you can't do fun things together. This website (www.lovingfromadistance.com) has so many awesome ideas. Vern was down several months ago, I bought a pack of "I LOVE YOU" postcards and sent him one every few days. You get the stamps ahead of time, even if he is international you don't have to mess around with customs documents or weights. Just one stamp and a postcard. It's amazing what that can do! Now with facebook, youtube, skype, your options are limitless.... I created a blog, I make videos, I send him photos and emails and still do the postcard thing. We also Skype on Sundays and I always look nice, I wear his favorite color, and we enjoy each other.
5. Communicate. Communication is very important. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful man who isn't afraid to say what he is feeling and listens to me say what I am feeling. We discuss issues, problems, concerns and share our good days and bad days. Sometimes he is strong for me and then I am strong for him. It's not all flirting and talking about gas prices and weather.
6. Honesty. This is as important as Trust. Vernon was honest with me about how me spending so much time with another single man made him feel. He didn't let it fester and then let it come out in anger. He cannot read your mind, don't expect him to. Men can't do it when they are living with us and they can't do it when far away. I think that is an unfair expectation we put on guys.
7. We promised each other that we would NEVER hang up on the other, disconnect from internet, or refuse to log on or call out of anger. That is damaging and unproductive. It's like couples who go to bed angry and don't talk to each other. If you need a break, discuss it, give yourselves a specific time frame, and reconnect when that time frame is up. If you need more time, set it then. Otherwise one is afraid to reach out to the other because he thinks you are angry or vice versa and you are getting sick because you don't know if you have been dumped.... I think we've only maybe had one disagreement that would qualify as a fight, but I don't think he'd even call it a fight. We didn't sign off angry, we always say "I love you."
8.I've gone on long enough, I love talking about our relationship, but I would have to say Appreciate each other. Don't dwell on the fact that he's not here or you are not there. That part sucks, but you have a special person in your life, and eventually your lives will merge together. I don't know your faith, but I feel God brings people together for a specific purpose and of all the people in the world He brought you two together. You are young, you are going to go to grad school and you can have such a wonderful, high quality life  and still have a long future together. I still have my days where I can't stop crying because I miss him so much. With a 6 hour difference and limited phone contact I can't just pick up the phone and call or text him like couples do when in the same country. You will feel like the luckiest person in the world, and you will feel like everything sucks. I'm not going to lie. But, focus on the big picture, you will get through those sad lonely times focusing on finishing school and planning for your future.

The best of luck to you both. I want to follow your journey and be there for you when things feel like they really really suck. Michelle and Frank (at www.lovingfromadistance.com) are also a wonderful resource for any questions or advice. They are putting education/career first, they are closer to your age, and you may think I'm full of hot air.. I don't know. Not all LDR's end in flames. There are a lot of happy couples on this site. Try to steer clear of any negativity. Also, you will get negativity from those who are close to you. Don't let them cause you doubt. I actually had another male friend tell me I was CRAZY to think that Vernon was being loyal to me, I was just naive. "All men cheat" instead of believing him, I felt sorry for him. He and I are not really friends anymore either. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. Hang tough! Love yourself! And enjoy your new relationship!
Lots of love,
KimberlyJ

     

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to Me!



I am so lucky to have such a wonderful man like Vernon. He spoils me every year for Valentines Day, just when I think I know what to expect he throws me something I do not expect. And I never expected this!